Ridge Volunteer Fire Department

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71st Annual Installation of Officers
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By Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Raley
January 26, 2019

On January 26, 2019 the 71st Annual Installation of Officers Banquet was held at the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Fire Hall. To start off the evening, the administrative, operational and auxiliary officers were sworn in by SMVFA Representatives.

2019 Administrative Officers:

President – Charlie Bradburn
Vice President – Ron Hafner
Secretary – Lori Raley
Assistant Secretary – Eddie Raley
Treasurer – Johnny Wathen
Fire Chief – Ray Mercure

Board of Directors-

Ray Mercure
Charlie Bradburn
Robbie Wood
Francis Raley
Dickie Wood
Ron Hafner
Johnny Wathen
Lori Raley
Bruce Raley
Rob Dodge
Matt Ridgell

2019 Line Officers:

Fire Chief – Ray Mercure
Assistant Chief – Eddie Raley
Deputy Chief – Darius Hawkins
Captain – Danny Gatton
Captain – Charlie Langley
Lieutenant – Chris Bender
Lieutenant - Jordan Andrews
Lieutenant – Robert Simmons
Lieutenant - Joe W Raley
Safety Officer – Phil Cooper
Safety Officer – Francis Raley
Safety Officer - Tom Trossbach
Chief Engineer – Peanut Gatton
Engineer – Bradley Cooper
Engineer – John Morrison
Engineer – Heavy Ridgell
Engineer – Ron Hafner
Engineer – Tony Ridgell
Engineer – Robbie Wood
Engineer - John Keister
Engineer - Brian Cooper

2019 Auxiliary Officers

President – Dawn Gatton
Vice President – Debbie Fairfax
Recording Secretary – Darlene Wood
Corresponding Secretary - Lisa Gibbs
Treasurer – Margie Cooper


After the swearing in, dinner prepared by Rita B's Catering was served. Following dinner, Past President, Joe Raley led us into a memorial ceremony to honor the deceased members of the department. The 2018 deceased members Jerry Norris and Craig Foote were added to the memorial located in front of our station. Family members were escorted to place flowers in remembrance.

The awards program followed, under the helm of Master of Ceremonies, Former St. Mary's County Commissioner Dan Raley.


Congratulations to the following 2018 award recipients:

President's Award – Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Auxilary

Chief's Award – Leigh Langford

Fireman of the year – Chris Bender

Rookie of the year – Chris Bender

Chief Engineer's Award – Bradley Cooper and Brian Cooper

Joe Titus Fire Prevention Award – Danny Reppell

Auxiliary Member of the year – Laura Cook

Auxiliary Outstanding Service Award - Tyler Gatton

Auxiliary President Dawn Gatton presented the department with a check totaling $55,000 to be used for renovations to the fire prevention trailer, decontamination kits, PAT tag and ID machine and replacement of MSU-4.

2018 Top 10 Emergency Responders:

1. Kevin Lorence 219 calls
2. Keith Raley 172 Calls
3. Ron Hafner 171 Calls
4. Chris Bender 161 Calls
5. Danny Gatton 156 Calls
6. George Gatton 146 Calls
7. Francis Raley 141 Calls
8. Jannet Keister 133 Calls
9. Heavy Ridgell 128 Calls
10. John Morrison 127 Calls


Length of Service Awards:

5 Years – Lori Raley

15 Years - Josh Wise, Matt Ridgell, Scot Best, George Franklin, Joe W. Raley, and John Ridgell

20 Years - Tim Ridgell and Charlie Bradburn

25 Years (Life Member) - Brian Cooper and Steve Gatton

30 Years - Johnny Wathen

55 Years - Phil Cooper, Dickie Wood and Joe Raley


Auxiliary Years of Service:

10 Years - Lauren Fairfax

20 Years - Renee Russell

30 Years - Kay Carter and Margie Cooper

35 Years -Mary Raley

Carnival Chairman Mike Ridgell presented several years of service awards to citizens of the community for their years of commitment to the Ridge Carnival.

A dance followed with music by DJ Wesley "Wild Wes" Briscoe.

The Officers and members of the Ridge VFD also would like to thank the members of Bay District VFD and NDWFD Webster Field for covering our area during the installation.

Also, a special thanks to Mary Franklin for the pictures.


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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
E-mail: info@ridgevfd.org
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